Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 19, 2018 (SKNIS): Senior Minister the Honourable Vance Amory has assured employers and employees in St. Kitts and Nevis that the Ministry and the Department of Labour will remain proactive in ensuring that working environments across the Federation remain safe for all.
Senior Minister Amory, who also serves as the Minister of Labour, said that staff within the Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate Unit in the Department of Labour is charged with visiting workplaces in order to ensure that safety standards are observed and the conditions are healthy. This covers quite a number of measures such as mounting proper signs for exits and hazardous areas or materials, ensuring there are no dangling wires, guaranteeing that hallways are free of obstruction, and maintaining furniture in good condition.
“But, we don’t only look at the physical conditions because we actually look at whether or not there are issues of threats in the workplace, where people are not comfortable because of contention in the workplace,” Senior Minister Amory said. “We feel that that is something which we need to be able to get resolutions on and that applies across the board … to small businesses and big businesses as well.”
The Minister of Labour added that there are basic human rights that must be honoured, including Article 23 which states that: “Everyone has the right to work” and “Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.”
To date, there have been 342 inspections of work environments for 2018. This is a dramatic improvement in the numbers posted in 2017 which stood at 164 for the same comparative period. The totals were buoyed by an increase in staff and the purchasing of a vehicle for the department to enhance mobile access to remote work sites such as those located along the South East Peninsula. The number of inspections is expected to increase in 2019 to fulfil the mandate issued by Senior Minister Amory.